Part I - The Gowanus Atlas

The Atlas is the collection of all the participant maps. Each participant will choose which condition to map (see Submission Requirements); these maps will display historical and/or current conditions and speculate on how they could change in the future. Traditional examples of a “map” include a flat-surface rendering of terrain, a graphic representation of a transportation system, or the result of analyzing information that is difficult to visualize, such as the human genome. Non-traditional mapping methods are encouraged, but they must be clear in their format and easily understood by the public, and not rely on the understanding of highly specialized areas of research. Maps should contemplate unique conditions arising from overlay and reimagining of previously separate information. For example, a visualization of underground streams synthesized with the combined sewer system would yield new information on the collection and release points of each network.

Entrants are encouraged to consider mapping applications, software, and traditional, innovative, and visionary methods for documenting and presenting their selected conditions.

As an initial organizing structure, five main categories and their respective conditions are listed below. However, participants may propose other categories for mapping and inclusion in The Atlas:


Underground Springs | Storm Water | Precipitation | Surface Water | Combined Sewer System | Overflows


Geology | Vegetation | Land Use | Dirt | Green Space | Parking |
Vacant Lots

Infrastructure Systems

Public Transit | Roads | Pedestrian Walkways | Bicycle Paths |
Combined Sewer System | Utilities | Communications

Social Landscape

Schools | Community-based Institutions | Political Boundaries | Recreational Activities | Demographics

Built Environment

Uses | Historical Significance | New Construction | Size | Typology

See the Resources section for examples of mapping and displaying complex information.


Part II - Gowanus Urban Field Station

The Field Station is the physical component that houses and supports the mapped conditions presented in the Atlas. The Field Station may be located on the canal, or on any public way or publicly-owned land in the watershed. The synthesized information that results from map overlays should anchor the Field Station to a specific site that further enhances its purpose.

As home to the Atlas, the Field Station is a year-round facility that supports the community with exhibit, recreational, academic, cultural, research, and work spaces supporting local organizations, groups, and individuals that observe and report on the impacts in the watershed caused by development, changes in infrastructure, global warming, planning strategies, the clean up process, etc. It offers shelter to its occupants and visitors. It does not have to adhere to zoning requirements, but it should be a fully accessible place(s) that is buildable. It will serve people from the community, school groups, out-of-towners, travelers, planners, etc.

The size, location, and materiality of the Field Station is at the sole discretion of the entrant(s), but should be informed by and embody the spirit of the mapped conditions.

Programmatically, participants should consider the following in their designs for the Field Station: lobby/reception, auditorium, exhibits, academic space for interns and after school programs, Gowanus resources, work spaces for an artist-in-residence and a scientist-in-residence, recreation (e.g. canoe launch on the canal), work space for a community liaison, support and circulation spaces, etc.